The southernmost marine reserve in the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve offers many idyllic sand and mangrove islands in 38,594 acres. This secluded marine reserve with its coastal waters and scattered coral patches serve as a vital habitat for dozens of threatened species, including five kinds of coral, three marine turtle species, and numerous types of fish. It is considered one of the top sites to see the true biodiversity of corals throughout Belize and houses the biological hotspot, Cayman Crown.
Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve is also a world-class sportfishing destination (of the catch-and-release variety). It is well known for the Grand Slam: catches of bonefish, tarpon, and permit. Scuba diving and snorkeling here are also spectacular, with gentle slopes that are ideal for novice divers. The clear, shallow waters of this unique lettuce reef teem with fish such as jack, angelfish, snapper, spadefish, and parrotfish,as well as other underwater life.
You may also spot dolphins, manta rays, and even whale sharks. Explore the islands by kayak to see a variety of ecosystems. If you want to just relax, head to Hunting Caye, home to one of Belize’s most beautiful beaches. Underwater or above, these cayes are worth the trip. One visitor described it as “Paradise, a place away from the influence of man, full of nature,” (translated) Eduardo Hernandez, a Google review.
The Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve is located along the southernmost tip of the Belize Barrier Reef, nearly 46 miles (75 kilometers) east of Punta Gorda Town. The reserve is a 2.5-hour boat ride from Punta Gorda, making it one of the more remote locales in the Belize Barrier Reef System. A local guide can be booked in Punta Gorda. Find more information on its website. The islands can also be reached via helicopter or chartered sailboat. See our responsible visitation guidelines before visiting so you can do your part to protect the Belize Barrier Reef for future generations to enjoy.